All lawyers involved with the trials of Tobin Kerns and Joe Nee argued before the Massachusetts Supreme Court on the immunity issues of Nee’s cohorts Joseph Sullivan and Daniel Farley…
Justice Martha Sosman met with Kerns’ attorney William McElligott, Sullivan’s attorney Robert Dimler and Gail McKenna from the Plymouth County District Attorney’s office Friday, where attorneys pled their case to allow for immunity to be upheld in Kerns’ impending trial. The trial was set to start in March, but things came to a standstill when Farley and Sullivan sought immunity under the Fifth Amendment.
The DA’s office then sought to enact immunity in the Nee trial in hopes of carrying immunity over into the Kerns trial.
While immunity was granted to both witnesses in Superior Court, Judge Louis Coffin said in April he was unsure if he had the authority to grant immunity in Juvenile Court, citing a ruling in Commonwealth vs. Russ, a 2001 case that set a precedent against enacting immunity in juvenile cases. Assistant District Attorney John McLaughlin then moved to bring the matter before a single Supreme Judicial Court Justice in Boston.
Torn between making a decision herself and seeking the counsel of the full bench, Sosman asked how time-sensitive the Kerns case was. While each attorney said they would support a decision before the full bench if necessary, they sought an answer to the immunity issue as soon as possible.
“We would have no problem with a full court decision, but my client is seeking a speedy resolution,” McElligott said.
McKenna argued in favor of enacting immunity in the Kerns case, saying that the immunity granted in Superior Court must be upheld in all courts and counties through the state. She said if a decision were given Friday against the Commonwealth’s favor, the Commonwealth would likely appeal the decision before the full bench.
More appeals. More delays. And still no justice for Tobin.